The Writing Process Blog Tour

Rachel Mennies of GS 5.1 tagged our Poetry Editor & EIC in the Writing Process Blog tour! Both were happy to participate & answered the “tour” questions provided, passing the challenge on each to other writers whose bios you can read below. Read Rachel’s answers first, then check out Sophie’s & Kimberly’s, and watch as this tour makes its way around the writing world.


1. What are you working on?
I’m working on a kind of kaleidoscopic non-fiction lyric memoir hybrid thing around the topic of water. The poems in my recent manuscript, Meet Me Here At Dawn, were tied up in a tremendous amount of emotional energy, all concerned with mortality, sexual power dynamics, familial bonds, the negotiation of human and animal life, personal spirituality… So, right now, I’ve given myself a slight reprieve from the conflict of self, writing about things like mythology and environmental economics. It’s very rewarding.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
*defers question to The Critics*

3. Why do you write what you do?
I wrote mostly from a state of curiosity and disturbance, and occasionally from flat out desperation. Writing is one way of finding a sense of stillness or at least, temporary alignment, even when (and sometimes especially when) what the work expresses is bewilderment. Right now I am writing about water because in the last few years, I realized that I sometimes had a deep physical craving to be near large bodies of water, and became curious about why. That personal investigation led me back to an old interest in science and a newer interest in religion, to information about the present global water crisis, and the critical state of the oceans….

4. How does your writing process work?
Vivez sans temps mort.


1. What are you working on?
I don’t tend to think of my work in any sense of its packaging, as in, had you asked me this question in the recent past, I would have answered that I don’t really think of my process outside of individual poems and the editing of them– but lately I have been thinking more largely. I have a full-length that can be broken down into three separate chapbooks, and I am mostly working on sending these out. The full-length manuscript is called Clues to how long returning may take and then the chapbooks it breaks down into are not the song she thought she heard, Rue de Osiris & other destinations, and efs and vees. Some of the chapbooks have poems in them that aren’t in the full-length. I have been thinking more lately about things like this—order and what goes where and how to expand something or condense it—than I have about writing, though I have been writing. I have a few poems that I have been editing lately that are slightly more blunt and less suggestive than the work I have in the full-length manuscript/chapbooks. Anyway, today also is DAY 1 of National Poetry Month, so as usual I will try to make a poem-a-day thing happen and then give up probably around the 15th-19th.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I have an unequalled affection for couplets but for absolutely no reason that is apparent to me and I would guess to anyone else.

3. Why do you write what you do?
The title of a 1995 review of a performance of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot calls it an “autopsy of human existence.” I am constantly striving towards this.

4. How does your writing process work?
Here’s one way: I am in the car. I have a good idea for a line or a few lines of a poem. I try to get Siri to let me record a voice message for myself on my phone, whilst driving. I fear getting into an accident. Siri, once I have finally activated her, reminds me that she can’t do shit for me until I update to the new iOs. I tell her to go fuck herself. I fumble blindly trying to activate my voice recorder system myself. I do not get into an accident. I fear getting pulled over. I do not get pulled over. One of two things happens: 1) I successfully record a voice message of a poem I may or may not ever write or 2) I give up and forget the poem I may or may not ever write. Repeat.

Toby Altman, Olivia Kate Cerrone, and Keetje Kuipers have all confirmed to keep the Writing Process Blog Tour going around. Check them out:

Toby Altman is the author of the chapbook Asides (Furniture Press, 2012). His poems can or will be found in The Black Warrior Review, Diagram, Fact-Simile, Gigantic Sequins, The Offending Adam, and other journals. He lives in Chicago, where he co-curates Absinthe and Zygote, an experimental reading series, and co-edits Damask, a chapbook press. He’ll be posting his answers via his personal site.

Olivia Kate Cerrone is a writer and educator. Her fiction has appeared in various journals, including New South, the Berkeley Fiction Review, War, Literature & the Arts,, The Portland Review and VIA: Voices in Italian Americana. She earned an MFA from NYU. Cerrone is the recipient of a “Distinguished Fellowship” from the National Endowment for the Arts and has won residency grants and fellowships from the Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop, the VCCA, the Hambidge Center, the Vermont Studio Center, Ragdale Foundation, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Art Farm, the Gloucester Writers Center and the MVWR.

Keetje Kuipers earned degrees from Swarthmore College and the University of Oregon. She was the 2007 Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, and from 2009-2011 she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her most recent book, The Keys to the Jail, was published by BOA Editions. Keetje is an Assistant Professor at Auburn University. She’ll be posting her answers via the Southern Humanities Review blog.


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